Home prices make solid gains in third quarter

NEW YORK, Nov. 26 (UPI) -- U.S. home prices posted gains in the third quarter, private and public reports released Tuesday show.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which keeps track of prices of homes with mortgages backed by either the Federal National Mortgage Association or the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. -- better known as Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae -- said prices rose 2 percent in the third quarter, posting a ninth consecutive quarter with gains.


The third quarter also marks a dubious milestone. It is the first time since 2009 that home prices were higher than they were five years ago, the agency said.

In the monthly S&P/Case-Shiller home price report, prices rose 3.2 percent in the third quarter from the second and 11.2 percent from a year earlier.

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In September, the 10-city and 20-city composite groupings used for the report rose 0.7 percent from August and 13.3 percent compared with September 2012. Overall, 13 of 20 cities posted higher year-over-year growth rates while 19 cities posted slower monthly gains, S&P said.

"The second and third quarters of 2013 were very good for home prices. The National Index is up 11.2 percent year-over-year, the strongest figure since the boom peaked in 2006," said Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indexes David Blitzer.


Cities in the West are showing the strongest annual gains with prices up 29.1 percent in Las Vegas, 25.7 percent in San Francisco and 21.8 percent in Los Angeles from a year earlier, the report said.

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Price gains are rising fast enough to cause concern that a market bubble may be developing, Blitzer said.

"However, the talk is focused on fear of a bubble, not a rush to join the part and buy," he said.

Strong gains are also showing up in other regions. From a year earlier, prices are up 20.9 percent in San Diego, 18.7 percent in Atlanta, 18.6 percent in Phoenix and 14.5 percent in Tampa, Fla.

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In Seattle and Portland, Ore., prices are up more than 13 percent. In Minneapolis they are up more than 10 percent.

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